Hugotero Chronicles: What is a Hugot?

A recent trend in the Philippines, particularly among the youth, is the hugot that can be noticeable during outdoor excursions such as mountain climbing. The verb ‘hugot‘ in Filipino languages can be translated as ‘extract.’ This is due to the hugotero, or a male person who does the hugot, extracting his negative experience in romance from himself through a seemingly-mundane sentence that implies a deeper thought. The female counterpart is called a hugotera, resulting from a language largely influenced by the Spanish colonial period that spanned over 300 years.

Although people without problems in romantic relationships can do a hugot, its effect can be most felt from those going through a break-up or unrequited love. Hugot provides a way to vent out frustration and bitterness without telling the issue directly. Once listeners get the idea behind the hugot, they can understand and even empathize with the hugotero or hugotera.

Nature walks serve as a perfect setting to unleash a sea of hugot. No one will make a big fuss about it as the rants are kept within oneself, a small group of companions, and the great outdoors. Walking for hours, especially on rough terrain, distracts the mind from emotional stresses by getting tired and needing to focus on the trail to avoid slips, falls, and other mishaps. Reaching one’s destination, such as the summit of a peak, can be the means to let go of past and present troubles after shouting them into the pollution-free air. Yet there is no guarantee it will not be followed by more hugot on the way back.

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